Why is ET the alien in Star Wars?
ET first appeared in theaters 40 years ago this month, but never forget that the alien made another appearance a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. ET — or more specifically, members of his species — made an appearance in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It’s a brief cameo, one that was born because star wars director George Lucas was doing a favor that HEY and IndianaJones director Steven Spielberg did for him. And, that brief cameo has been extended into a new lore that, presumably, isn’t canon anymore since Disney bought Star Wars and decanonized much of what came before.
In the 80s, Spielberg dropped little star wars Easter eggs in several of his films to shout Lucas, his friend and collaborator. R2-D2 and C-3PO appear in some Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1981 Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arkand the bar in the early 1984s cursed temple is named after Obi-Wan. The biggest Easter egg arrived in 1982 AND, however, when ET sees a kid dressed as Yoda trick-or-treating on Halloween and starts following him “Home”. John Williams, who scored both HEY and star warseven dropped a bit of its Yoda theme to really sell the moment.
So when 1999 and the premiere of the prequel trilogy came along, Lucas owed Spielberg a guest appearance in return. This happens in the scene where Queen Padmé Amidala calls for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum, head of the Galactic Senate. After calling the vote, there are cheers and outrage among the various representatives in their small groups. A pod is filled with three very familiar aliens.
As far as movies go, it’s the extent of ET’s appearance in star wars, though this led to some amusing fan theories that ET’s various abilities in the 1982 film were simply him using The Force. However, various additional documents add a whole lot of additional information.
The senior senator’s name is Greblieps – “Speilberg” spelled backwards. Author James Luceno coined the name in his 2001 novel Cloak of Deceptionwhich serves as a prequel to The Phantom Menace. The book, like everything in the once vast Expanded Universe, is no longer necessarily canon after Disney’s purchase of Star Wars and the subsequent rebranding of everything EU as “star wars Legends.” However, Greblieps still appears to be the character’s canon name, as he was named in a 2019 episode of the YouTube series. The Star Wars Show.
In view of the release of attack of the clones, an in-universe brief news series titled HoloNet News has appeared both online and in Star Wars Insider magazine. Those briefs were full of extra linking stuff and little jokes, and most of what we know about Senator Greblieps came from those briefings — briefings that aren’t considered canon anymore but are still quite amusing. According to these HoloNet News briefings, Greblieps wanted to launch an extra-galactic expedition. Since star wars takes place in a galaxy far, far away, the assumption is that ET’s trip to Earth was that very mission. It’s a little joke rather than a difficult one HEY Where star wars cannon, but it’s pretty funny.
In less cheerful news, another HoloNet News revealed that Greblieps was one of the senators arrested by the Imperial Secret Service and charged with conspiracy and treason for helping plot the Jedi coup.
A marvel of 1984 star wars The comic featured a character named Braxas, an information broker who used a wheelchair and looked a bit like ET through the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Although or not Braxas was intentionally drawn to look like ET, whose blockbuster movie was released just a few years before the comic, Braxas was retroactively considered a member of the ET species after The Phantom Menace. Then, after Disney bought Star Wars, Braxas was no longer canon at all.
ET species in star wars are called Asogiana, so named for their home planet Brodo Asogi. The name of the planet, however, is not mentioned in any star wars movie nor in HEYand instead comes from a 1985 book that’s supposed to be a sequel to the movie, ET, the green airplane bookt, by William Kotzwinkle. Brodo Asogi is just one of many translations of “Green Planet,” according to the book, and it’s the only Star Wars Legends canon adopted and derived from the species name. (There are aspects of green planet book which are contrary to star wars canon, though that’s not unexpected considering the book was written 15 years earlier with no connection to star wars.)
It’s all a lot of work for what’s really just a brief blink-and-miss-you cameo, but for many star wars fans, diving deep into the weeds of tiny, confusing and contradictory canon, feel right at home. And, we all know what ET thinks of the house.
AND the extra-terrestrial currently broadcasting on Peacock.